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Back Bay Life Science Advisors brings you expert insights from our advisors and investment bankers in the world of BioPharma & MedTech. On this podcast, you’ll hear from our experts in life science development, commercialization, and investment banking, scientific investigators, biotech and medtech executives, physicians, and strategists who excel at guiding global life sciences companies and their investors through complex decisions. Join us for insights generated from in-depth scientific, ...
 
The Khwezi Science Report is a dive into the warm waters of science where information is made interesting and understandable and is placed in the context of our daily lives. From archaeology to tech, astronomy to zoology, you'll find it all here with host Tanya Farber, a senior reporter at the Sunday Times. She loves how science connects with other ways of understanding the world around us from all sorts of disciplines. Each episode takes the listener on a journey through all things weird an ...
 
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Anxiety is common in people with autism – but is is different than other types of anxiety or similar? Is it part of the autism phenotype? When does it start and what triggers it? Two new studies which use a longitudinal design and examine the links between autism features, anxiety symptoms and brain development are summarized this week. It shows th…
 
with Back Bay Life Science Advisors’ Dr. Peter Bak and Dr. Mavra Nasir Dr. Mavra Nasir recently published a thought piece in Biopharma Dealmakers outlining the current state of play in the promising field of protein degradation. In this episode, Dr. Nasir sits down with Peter Bak to discuss the recent surge of venture funding and partnerships surro…
 
Thanks to Dr. Susan Kuo at Broad Research Institute and MIT, there is an analysis of 17,000 individuals with autism across 4 different studies that all looked at how developmental milestones emerged. The results show a great deal of diversity – across different studies, time, intellectual disability and genetic background. Different groups of peopl…
 
New neurons can be generated in a dish (amazing in itself), and then these neurons can then be studied to examine how they grow, expand, divide and connect. Using this technology, researchers are finding differences in several cell functions in different forms of autism. These differences are in proliferation, which is an increase in the number of …
 
This week we discuss the CANDID meeting: Consortium for Autism, Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Digestive Diseases, what was shared, what was learned, and where doctors and researchers need to do more. They included the link between the brain-gut connection, challenges in diagnosis, ongoing studies, potential solutions, and what pediatric gastroen…
 
This is the first episode in our podcast series of Q&As on biopharma and medtech development—directly from active developers. Our podcast listeners, including Back Bay clients, have submitted timely and relevant questions about life science development and the daily challenges they face. Christian Thieniel and Brendan Wang, two senior members of th…
 
We’ve heard a lot about social robots – do they help? One or two studies are not going to answer this, but a systematic review and meta analysis will! It turns out when you combined all the data, they do help in social abilities, but not other areas. This is how technology can help those with autism, especially technology which can be adapted to ad…
 
This week’s podcast highlights a paper from the IBIS (infant brain imaging study) that tracks infants from 6 months to 5 years of age to examine how ASD symptoms cluster together. These infants either have a diagnosis or they don’t, or they have something which doesn’t meet diagnostic threshold but is still impairing in some way. Ignoring the actua…
 
This year’s first podcast dedicated to COVID issues explores both caregiver and clinician satisfaction with telehealth. New studies explore this satisfaction with assessment as well as psychiatric interventions. Also, as a follow up to the INSAR presentations on resiliency in mental health, a new study from Canada explains what may be at the core o…
 
This week, the #ASFpodcast explores different types of interventions for which the core autism features are not necessarily the target, but those that enhance quality of life and provide help for irritability and emotional dysregulation. They include cooking, music therapies and antipsychotic medications. While they may not be effective in core aut…
 
In this episode of Back Bay’s industry podcast, The Life Science Report, Dr. Peter Bak is joined by Mike Bogetofte Barnkob, a doctor with the Department of Clinical Immunology at Odense University Hospital in Denmark and a research fellow at the University of Southern Denmark, to discuss current perspectives—clinical, scientific and manufacturing—o…
 
At this year’s International Society of Autism Research meeting in Austin, TX, there was a variety of themes explored. From early development and milestones, to intervention and supports, to different features like sensory issues, treatment, and how to solve the problem of heterogeneity. It comes down to this: Autism means different things to diffe…
 
This week is a pharmacopeia of inflation. The #ASFpodcast talks debilitating gastrointestinal issues and new efforts to understand and treat them (including the CANDID meeting www.candidgi.com), a new method to understand adverse events in those that cannot report them on their own, and new news on Celexa, which is used to treat anxiety. www.candid…
 
The amygdala has been shown to be differently sized in autistic people – at first it is too big then it becomes smaller than typically developing people. But how early are these differences seen and does it relate to a diagnosis? The Infant Brain Imaging Study tackled this question in a recent study which compared … Continue reading "How that littl…
 
Biopharma companies looking to establish a footprint in Europe face country-specific decision-making processes. The health technology assessments (HTAs) in France and Germany, for example, look very different. Does this regional level of thinking make it easier or potentially more difficult to get medicines to market and into the hands of patients …
 
In February, the CDC worked with the American Academy of Pediatrics to update the developmental milestones that parents should use when referencing how their child is developing. These milestones describe what should be accomplished by times as young as 2 months and as old as 5 months. These are helpful to all parents who wonder … Continue reading …
 
Parents or caregivers of children with ASD sometimes have a lot of difficulty helping their child brush their teeth. Parents and caregivers of children not on the spectrum have difficulty helping their child brush their teeth. By working with families on an individual level, coaching, encouraging and breaking down each of the steps of tooth … Conti…
 
This year’s Day of Learning was a huge success, with topics ranging from biological sex differences to mobile technologies all the way to the importance and documented value of leisure activities in people on the spectrum. the speakers included a discussion of the IACC, sex differences, the value of prevalence data, mobile technologies, leisure act…
 
The answer is obviously “no”, however, animal models are necessary to help understand brain circuitry and improve interventions and supports for not just core symptoms but associated issues like anxiety, OCD, seizures and GI issues. Scientists view behaviors consistent with an ASD diagnosis differently, and this has created some problems in interpr…
 
Fifteen years ago, scientists discovered optogenetics, a technique of using light to stimulate light-sensitive receptors in order to turn brain cells “on” and “off" at the flip of a switch. Advances in optogenetics have allowed this technology to move from the laboratory to humans, and more recently biopharma companies have been quick to incorporat…
 
Environmental exposures, including toxic chemicals, can contribute to the causes of ASD. But how do other environmental factors, like behavioral supports, work in the brain to improve behaviors associated with ASD? For this, you need a broad interpretation of the term “environmental” and an animal model so you can see the mechanism involved. Studie…
 
This week’s podcast focuses on innovative methodologies to understand how to reach black families, understand why and when autistic people prefer not to look at faces and how interventions can improve conversation and social communication. They use culturally and racially matched mentors, old home video tapes (keep taking those!) and machine learni…
 
Several studies have linked the immune system to autism, but how are they connected? Two new studies this week illustrate differences in immune function in those with a diagnosis compared to those without, and also find differences in the blood of of pregnant mothers who go on to have an autistic child. Women who go … Continue reading "Is Autism In…
 
Autism diagnosis at 3 years of age isn’t something that happens suddenly. It evolves, there are deficits seen early on and markers that are evident prior to 3 years. Some of them are cascading events – with problems in one area like motor function, other behaviors like reaching, grasping, and learning about the environment and … Continue reading "W…
 
This week is a “brick-a-brack”: of topics. They include: 1. how COVID-19 is especially dangerous for people with neurodevelopmental disorders; 2. how certain genes associated with neurodevelopmental disorders can affect other body functions other than the brain (like the digestive system and kidney function and metabolism); and finally, 3. why pare…
 
Parents are now used as intervention partners through a design called parent-mediated intervention. It started to be studied before the pandemic but has now become a necessity. Does it work? Should it always work for everything? How long should the intervention last and how often? These are all questions of interest, and while research is … Continu…
 
Antibiotics act as a safety net for all of healthcare. They make medical procedures such as surgeries, childbirth and cancer treatments possible, but what happens when bacteria or other microorganisms become resistant to the drugs we use against them? Back Bay Life Science Advisors’ Managing Director Peter Bak sits down with Marc Lemonnier, a molec…
 
This week, we talk to Karla Rivera-Figueroa and Inge-Marie Eigsti, who together with Nana Yaa A. Marfo published a systematic review asking about parental perceptions of autism in both LatinX and Black Sociocultural contexts. Six themes popped out, and the question for Karla and Dr Eigsti were “how can research help”? What funding opportunities, cu…
 
Most people with autism have some sort of sensory dysfunction: hypersensitivity or hyposensitivity or sensory avoiding behaviors to touch, smell, sound, light. But a new study looking at kids from the Study to Explore Early Development (SEED) suggest that it may be more important than you think. In fact, it was the only feature to … Continue readin…
 
Despite the heavy influx of capital over the past years, medtech or biopharma sell-side assignments can still be ripe with challenges. In this episode of Back Bay’s industry podcast, Back Bay Life Science Advisors’ investment banking team discuss best practices for successful sell-side licensing, partnering, and M&A, including: Best practices for r…
 
It’s up! The 2021 Year End Summary of Autism Science. It covers everything from glial cells to girls and females, from those that are traditionally underserved to the genetic underpinnings of ASD and siblings and everything in between. It’s a 30 minute recap of the highlights of research from the past 365 days. You can … Continue reading "The 2021 …
 
On Tuesday, the journal Lancet published a 2+ year long endeavor around understanding the heterogeneity of autism not just in features but in access to services for individuals and families across the world. They called for a stepped care to help individualize and prioritize needs in different individuals based on their needs, not their diagnosis. …
 
Cell and gene therapies are currently among the hottest investments in the biotech space, both in the public and private markets. In this episode, Back Bay’s Managing Director and host Pete Bak, PhD is joined by Kyle O’Neil and Brendan Wang, who are returning to the podcast after attending the 2021 Cell and Gene Meeting on the Mesa. Tune in to hear…
 
You have heard a lot about how the pandemic affected those with a diagnosis – and it isn’t good. Recent studies have turned their attention to stress and anxiety and depression of caregivers during the pandemic. It was higher in those parents with children of a neurodevelopmental disorder, but it was also complicated, related to … Continue reading …
 
On this week’s podcast, we interview Dr. Giacomo Vivanti from the AJ Drexel Autism Institute who, together with Daniel Messinger from University of Miami, wrote an analysis of how research and intervention have changed since the DSMIII was written 40 years ago. They include theories of the causes of autism, the theories of the deficits … Continue r…
 
Over the past two years, we’ve lost many people. Jobs have been lost, the economy has nosedived, our lifestyles have been altered forever. We are living through a serious historical milestone and in this episode we reflect on the unforgettable moments we’ve experienced. We chat to renowned medical historian and anthropologist from UCT, Dr Mandisa M…
 
Two weeks ago the topic was gene x environment interactions. But some genetic variants, including rare genetic variants, can exert huge influence on a diagnosis by themselves. New data from genetic samples that have been sequenced are showing an increase in the number of these genes and the role of these genes, and how they … Continue reading "Rare…
 
The practice of ABA, or applied behavioral analysis, can be easily misunderstood. Rather than a single procedure, ABA is a variety of techniques that can be applied to different situations to improve communication, reduce aggression, and improve the quality of life of people on the spectrum. Why is it getting a bad reputation? Is the … Continue rea…
 
You have maybe heard about how environmental exposures after conception or birth may affect genetic expression and then risk of developing autism. But what research has been done to look at preconceptional exposures, presumably exposures that affect the cells that then give rise to sperm and eggs? Turns out they are susceptible to some environmenta…
 
“I have a deep belief that medtech and healthtech are going to carry us forward to markedly improve delivery and quality of healthcare.” - Jonathan P. Gertler, MD For years, biotech has been the dominant theme in life sciences development, offering a great deal in treatment advances and in terms of investing versatility and returns potential. But w…
 
A couple of weeks ago, a group in Australia published a study that investigated the efficacy of a “preemptive” intervention. That is, what happens if you provide support to parents to improve social communication, interaction and skills in infants before a diagnosis can be made? The results have a lot of meaningful implications of what … Continue r…
 
You may know this as “masking” or “camouflaging” where autistic adults intentionally or unintentionally hide their autistic features to pass as non-autistic because they want to hide some of their challenges. This week, Drs. Erin Libsack and Matthew Lerner from Stony Brook University summarize a systematic review on this behavior. The original goal…
 
Instead of a podcast, this week is a message in honor of the 1 year anniversary of the death of advocate and mother Feda Amaliti. Stay safe. Out of this tragedy, a website has been built that contains information for families on how to prepare for an unexpected emergency and what to do when it … Continue reading "September26.org"…
 
Before SA had a secure and healthy stash of Covid-19 vaccines, there was a mighty push by the South African and African community to make sure that vaccines were being supplied equitably. However, now that we have a bountiful supply of vaccines and have hopes to vaccinate enough of our community to substantially curb transmission, a powerful “anti-…
 
Early changes in eye gaze – or the time spent looking at another person’s face compared to the scene around them – is diminished in ASD. It starts to decline at about 12 months and is linked to later social communication behaviors. But many people wonder why this is an early developing behavior worth studying? … Continue reading "Who cares about ey…
 
Some scientists bask in the limelight because of their work. Others quietly - and rigorously - go about their mission wearing many challenging hats so that the interests of public health are at the front of the agenda for the rest of us.One such person is Prof Helen Rees who gave up some of her precious time to talk to us about Covid-19 vaccines, i…
 
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34378867/ There have been several small, or small-ish, studies looking at the link between dementia and autism or ID. However, recently, the largest medical record study of 500k people, 12k of which were autistic and 26k were autistic and had ID, examining early onset dementia was published. Those with ASD had a 1.9 …
 
Siblings of people on the spectrum, including autistic adults, are amazing. They support, advocate, fundraise, and now we know they actually have a direct influence on the outcome of their affected brother or sister. What’s that effect? When is it most obvious? Does gender or race matter? All of these questions will be answered by … Continue readin…
 
Food insecurity during the pandemic is affecting us all, but even before the pandemic it was a greater problem in families affected by ASD. Now, during the pandemic and restrictions in access to food, food programs at schools and unemployment, it’s an even bigger problem. Dr. Arun Kapur from Autism Speaks describes his study examining … Continue re…
 
One of the unexpected outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the rapid and widespread uptake of remote patient monitoring. Just ahead of the pandemic, investment in patient monitoring was booming; priming the system for quick uptake and innovation. As with vaccines, much groundwork had been done to prepare for dramatic innovation and widespread…
 
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